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Old 29.12.2010, 11:53
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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(I'm not able to quote as I'm responding via the tapatalk application on my phone which does not have this feature)

Yes he has a job and his private life functions normally when he's not consuming alcohol.

No, he is not married and does not have children but has siblings here on CH.

He does not want to go to a doctor... He wants to be able to heal himself without medication.
AA is the only thing that will work long term. It sounds like he doesn't need detox as he has been able to go periods without drinking. As others have said, he needs to admit that he has a problem that he can't overcome on his own. Sometimes friends and family can help people reach that realization, but it has to be made by him. After that point he will be open to accepting help from AA, the only real doctrine there is that you can't control your drinking on your own. If he doesn't accept that yet then there isn't a lot you can do. Try not to enable him in any way (covering for his mistakes while drinking with lies).

There are some drugs that can help, if he's been intermittently drinking heavily for 10 years then the pleasure centres of his brain are almost permanantely wired to tell him drinking is good, and other things that normal people would enjoy he may not be able to any more. The drugs can help with that, but won't work in isolation.

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Hmmm I think labelling him an alcoholic is maybe a bit too strong, as you say he can go for months without touching a drop, whereas an alcoholic cannot function without, or go for a couple of hours without consuming alcohol as they are totally dependant on alcohol - doesn't sound like your friend. True he does have a problem with knowing where to stop when he does start partying - a solution could be limiting the amount of cash he has with him or has access to when he goes out.

It seems to me he has more of a conscience problem then a drinking problem. Also it is really easy to spend 60 grand in clubs in switzerland, especially if you are in a group.

Getting plastered every now and then is not alcoholism in my opinion but just stupidity.
I completely disagree. Alcoholism doesn't mean you spend all your time drinking, it means you spend all your time thinking about drinking. As I mentioned above the OP's friend likely can't enjoy normal activities anymore, but is trying to get past that. He won't be able to on his own.
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Old 29.12.2010, 12:18
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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I have a very close friend who is an alcoholic and has been one for about 10 years.

He will go for months without touching a drop but then the urge gets too strong and he'll go out and get totally plastered. So much so that he once thought he had mortally wounded someone in a fight (turns out he didn't). He also once blew CHF 60,000 in one night at clubs and bars and could not remember how. He gets crazy when he is drunk, a completely different person to who he normally is.

For years I (as well as others) have warned him of his problem. He refused to take any advice (did try AA once but said it didnt help him) and I have finally accepted the fact that the only way he is going to get out of this is for him to hit rock bottom and lose everything and everyone who loves him.

It happened again this weekend and he has finally admitted to having a problem. He doesn't know how to deal with it. I don't know what advice to give him. He comes from a family full of raging alcoholics and substance abusers so it's something that hard-coded into him.

Any advice I could pass on would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I do not know if he has some hobbies or passions but he could be very helpful to keep himself busy doing sports, taking care of animals (Animals are very often used to help people out of some diseases or addictions)

With 60'000.- wasted on alcohol and other stuff, he could use his money (if there is left ) for buying sport equipment, a music instrument and take up music lessons or like I just said, getting animals.

One thing sure is that he can be very thankful to have a friend like you who wants to help him !!! BRAVO !!!
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Old 29.12.2010, 12:28
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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AA is the only thing that will work long term. It sounds like he doesn't need detox as he has been able to go periods without drinking. As others have said, he needs to admit that he has a problem that he can't overcome on his own. Sometimes friends and family can help people reach that realization, but it has to be made by him. After that point he will be open to accepting help from AA, the only real doctrine there is that you can't control your drinking on your own. If he doesn't accept that yet then there isn't a lot you can do. Try not to enable him in any way (covering for his mistakes while drinking with lies).
To reiterate, please see the Cochrane Review on AA. As for the "only real doctrine," let's not kid ourselves here. AA is far more structured than simply having that one tenet. Your implication that it's hopeless without acceptance of this is exactly the kind of attitude that prevails in many AA groups, thus sometimes leading to either repulsion or addiction to AA.

Personally-speaking (obvious anecdotal disclaimer), I have friends who have tried AA and dropped out for the reasons above, including a failure to accept "God." One found it helpful but then came to rely on it for every facet of his life, long after he stopped drinking. He felt helpless to make any decisions about his life without AA. Interestingly enough, he got to a place where not drinking was quite easy but he said that going to AA to talk about it when he wanted to just talk about life in general kept him bound to his addiction. It made addiction the core of who he was and held him back. When he expressed this to the group, he felt attacked and was told he wouldn't survive without AA.

Do some people benefit? Of course, but scientifically-speaking, no more or less than other therapeutic interventions. And my personal opinion on AA is that it has a higher potential for harm than other interventions. People who are struggling with alcoholism are often in a vulnerable place and dealing with significant rejection from those around them. AA initially presents a powerful group acceptance that fulfills this need, removing all responsibility from the alcoholic and having him or her relinquish full control as they commit to God (disclaimer again that I respect the still contentious but established biological threads of addiction). Rather than become empowered, a reliance on this group for all emotional needs can occur.

Let me put it this way – if you were going for one-to-one therapy to help alcoholism, and your therapist told you that you would need to keep seeing him or her for life to cope with alcoholism, how ethical, comfortable and positive would this be? To generalize, I believe AA promotes reliance on the group as opposed to therapies such as the cognitive-behavioral approach that function through self-directed tools the patient uses when the need arises.

But then again, if your alcoholism is killing you, such potential AA risks might be worth it.
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Old 29.12.2010, 12:34
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

I don't know but I'm not so sure "a replacement" is very helpful.

I mean take sex and alcohol for example, it is fabulous when consumed regularly, sometimes excessively and sometimes you just go on a diet for a while.
One autoregulates oneself kind of, to stay on a healthy physical and mental level.

Of course if you're an adrenaline junkie and/or addicted to kicks too much, you need to get a handle on yourself to come back to a normal and healthy level.

Those who do extreme sports still use their heads and even though they "kiff" their sport and love the danger kick it brings,
I sure wouldn't compare extreme sports with an alcohol, gambling or sex addiction.

A so called replacement might take the attention off the thing one really wants to do for a while
but I very much doubt it'll solve the real reason for getting mindlessly plastered nor will it ever give the same kind of kick.
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Old 29.12.2010, 13:35
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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Those who do extreme sports still use their heads and even though they "kiff" their sport and love the danger kick it brings,
I sure wouldn't compare extreme sports with an alcohol, gambling or sex addiction.
You are missing the point. We are NOT talking about addiction as such, as the person in question can clearly go without alcohol for days, hence not addicted to it.

The only addiction is thrill seeking, if it involves unhealthy habits then its better to be replaced by something healthy and less harmful. I am speaking from experience, I have friends who would smoke a joint and then down some liquor on top and then go down on black slope on a snowboard. They just want the extra kick.

They know what they are doing is dangerous, one fell off a bridge and broke his leg and did'nt even realise it was broken for a whole day, limping around. Another of his friend fell of the edge while snowboarding and was in hospital for a few weeks. Another guy plays online poker while high on drugs.

Now who would you convince such a person to stop such reckless behaviour, when they have been through all that and still want to do it.

Some seek thrills in sport while others in gambling for the rush it gives them.
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Old 29.12.2010, 13:53
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

Yeah I understand perfectly well what you're saying there Wasted.
Some can have it all and still live a reasonably normal life, well lucky them right.

Still, it seems Meisie's friend there turned into a mess and the situation seems rather alarming than amusing.

For some its all fun & amusement for others nothing but trouble & disaster.
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Old 29.12.2010, 14:52
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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...Also, it could be suggested that AA is one of the few programs that can foster addiction...to AA.
Anything "could be suggested". Weasel words! Addiction to AA would, I think, be considerably less harmful to an individual than addiction to alcohol.
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... AA initially presents a powerful group acceptance that fulfills this need, removing all responsibility from the alcoholic...
This is tosh. AA has never removed responsibility from the alcoholic. The responsiblity remains firmly on the alcoholic to not drink, and getting his life in order. You can see that in the 12 steps, quite clearly...e.g. step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all If that's not taking responsibility for your own actions, I don't know what is.

It seems that most of the problems people have with AA is that it talks about God, and includes him in much of its literature. Not that surprising, seeing as most of the twelves steps came out of Christianity. Interestingly, while anti-religionists criticise it for bringing God into the equation, some christians criticise it for being a "watered down version" of their faith.

There are plenty of groups that purport to support alcholics that aren't the AA. Perhaps Meisie's friend could try them. But do they exist near where he lives, in a language he can speak? And of course there is the medical route.

I struggled with controlling my drinking for years. I gave up the struggle a while ago. I would go through periods of not drinking, would start again, and quickly be getting drunk 2 or 3 times a week. Was I (am I) an alcoholic? I don't know. I certainly wasn't in control of my drinking. Playing around with definitions is silly.

What I do know is that now I don't drink. I've given up any idea of ever drinking again. I've no problem with anyone else drinking, I still socialise, I don't feel left out, I don't feel I'm missing anything. I recently had lunch with a friend, and the set menu included wine. He discovered the old adage:

"A bottle of wine is a wonderful thing to share with a friend. Especially a tee-totaller".
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Old 29.12.2010, 14:58
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

I do know a couple of alcoholics who have come back from frequent dependency-drinking and now just drink socially . . . so total abstinence à la AA isn't the only route.

I believe there's also a more secular group for those who want the abstinence route without the latent religiosity.
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Old 29.12.2010, 15:05
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

I had a quick look for English speaking non-religious self-help groups for alcoholics, and couldn't find any listed for Switzerland. It seems it's the AA and/or the medical route.

I did read somewhere (once) that about 50% of people who want to quit eventually succeed, by whatever route.

Is the AA a cult? Probably not. But as it is made up of individuals, and each group seems fairly autonomous, it does seem to have the scope to become abusive -just as any other group would.
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Old 29.12.2010, 15:30
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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Anything "could be suggested". Weasel words! Addiction to AA would, I think, be considerably less harmful to an individual than addiction to alcohol.
This is tosh. AA has never removed responsibility from the alcoholic. The responsiblity remains firmly on the alcoholic to not drink, and getting his life in order. You can see that in the 12 steps, quite clearly...e.g. step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all If that's not taking responsibility for your own actions, I don't know what is.
I don't think anybody would dispute that an addiction to AA is probably less harmful than one to alcohol. But since AA isn't more effective than other interventions and since I believe it has more potential to harm, I'm suggesting that other interventions should first be attempted. As I said, the risks of AA might be worth it if you're an alcoholic and nothing else has worked.

I disagree that AA doesn't remove responsibility from the alcoholic. You admit to being powerless and it is only by placing your power in God that you can move on to making amends. You can't pick and choose each step but have to look at it in the entire context of the program. Are you seriously reading these 12 steps and saying they promote responsibility? In my experience, what seems to happen in some instances is that this "God" is, in reality, the AA group, who the alcoholic comes to rely on for all things, addiction and otherwise.
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Old 29.12.2010, 15:34
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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I struggled with controlling my drinking for years. I gave up the struggle a while ago. I would go through periods of not drinking, would start again, and quickly be getting drunk 2 or 3 times a week. Was I (am I) an alcoholic? I don't know. I certainly wasn't in control of my drinking. Playing around with definitions is silly.

What I do know is that now I don't drink. I've given up any idea of ever drinking again. I've no problem with anyone else drinking, I still socialise, I don't feel left out, I don't feel I'm missing anything.
This made me smile and it's inspiring even to me as a non-drinker who hasn't struggled with alcohol or drug addiction.
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Old 01.01.2011, 17:36
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

Gosh!! 60 grand would keep me in booze and exotic holidays for a few years!!
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Old 01.01.2011, 18:03
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

Whilst I dont work directly with Alcoholics ( as I grew up with a mother who was one ) I do work with people who are suffering emotionally and trying to help partners, parents, friends of alcoholics.

This is an excellent book for those in such a situation or who are seduced into the co dependancy triangle ,

I recommend it to all my all clients in such situations and all have found it so helpful , and u can buy it used for about a dollar !

Its now out of print but Amazon ar Abe books sell it used.


http://www.amazon.com/Recovery-Rescu.../dp/1558740163

Caroline

www.expatcounselling.com
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Old 08.12.2015, 19:44
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

My mother was an alcaholic for years from when I was 8-19 it was horrible then one day it just went too far and she was in hospital having fallen down drunk in the bath.
She insists she was never an alcaholic, my stepdad stuck by her and after she was out of hospital she just decided to 'stop' I dont know how she did it, she wont talk about it very much and I was away at uni at the time.
But she always says she could never have done it without her friends, calling them anytime time day/night to distract her from drinking.
In this situation the outcome has been a good one, she got her life back together and gave herself a second chance.

My brother in law is another story, he steadily built up his drinking for years, ever since a car crash he was in when he was young and his best friend died - he was driving.
No one knew about till July last year when he was arrested for DD in the UK. It was a huge shock to us all - he has a wife and 2 very small kids. Once we all found out, he didnt hide it, we all tried to talk to him show him all the postitive of his life, but nothing worked.
He went to a counceller but he just lied to her, we pleaded for help with the doctor but unless he wanted help there was nothing anyone can do, we 'let' him lose his job, his money and his wife/kids but his mum/dad were always there, they just couldnt not be.....but i would consider that rock bottom in my book, still he kept on.
He fell down the stairs drunk in march and bashed his head so badly he was airlifted to hospital and died that day, leaving his 1 and 5yo fartherless. He was only 34.
Alcaholism is terrible and effects people in different ways, some can be a 'functional' for years and years like my mum and some dive into the bottomless pit of alcahol and drown themselves in a short period of time like my brother in law.

My stories cant help you with a solution because all you can do is be a supportive friend. Its fustrating but all you can do..
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Old 08.12.2015, 20:33
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

This site gives information for meetings in English for AA and Al Anon and Alateen

https://alcoholics-anonymous.eu/

If anyone wants to contact me privately I can give you detailed information of local meetings where you live in Switzerland.

Best wishes
Caroline

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Old 08.12.2015, 21:42
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

Hi

There is a brilliant online support group he can try it's called ' mywayout ' it's anonymous if you want it to be and its basically a forum like this which offers lots of advice to either quit alcohol completely or to moderate, it was set up by a lovely lady, it's a shame that people need to feel ashamed to admit they have a problem at the end of the day alcolism is an addiction escapism and I don't think you can simply just 'right somebody off ' with the right help and support he may be able to conquer his demons. theres also a brilliant documentary he can watch via YouTube it's called 'raining in my heart ' try to be kind I know it's not easy
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Old 08.12.2015, 22:45
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

Not sure if it's more about escapism or that being just a symptom of a serious disease..Unless one realizes one is sick, nothing changes. All addictions are at the core - a pure form of prioritizing oneself in a sick, extreme way. Just give oneself one last little bit..

I never had an addiction problem but had to be exposed to somebody not owning up to it. People have no idea it ruins lives and not only theirs. It's good there is help available to those who have guts to fess up.

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Old 09.12.2015, 10:15
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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Hmmm I think labelling him an alcoholic is maybe a bit too strong, as you say he can go for months without touching a drop, whereas an alcoholic cannot function without, or go for a couple of hours without consuming alcohol as they are totally dependant on alcohol - doesn't sound like your friend. True he does have a problem with knowing where to stop when he does start partying - a solution could be limiting the amount of cash he has with him or has access to when he goes out.

It seems to me he has more of a conscience problem then a drinking problem. Also it is really easy to spend 60 grand in clubs in switzerland, especially if you are in a group.

Getting plastered every now and then is not alcoholism in my opinion but just stupidity.
I have to disagree with that. There are different types of alcoholics. My mothers father was an alcoholic of a similar vein. He died of liver disease before I met him but my mother told me many times about his pattern of drinking. As he got older the periods between the binges got shorter.
Alcoholism is about many things, one of which is how someone drinks. Uncontrollable drinking would in my opinion point toward a severe drinking problem.
My father on the other hand is a more "normal" alcoholic. There was never really periods between his drunkenness and his drinking pattern fitted what you describe as perhaps the traditional idea of alcoholism.

Having grown up around an alcoholic, I would not be too optimistic about the OP's friends chances of successfully staying off the booze. Its doable but very difficult. But I certainly wish them the best and they have taken a first step.

On a related topic, a lead singer of an Irish band who had addiction problems said he found help in an addiction center in Thailand. He was expecting all sorts of profound help, didn't get it and was starting to think he was doomed. Then one day a Monk told him something similar to; life is not like a swimming pool- there's no lifeguard on duty. Sort yourself out or you'll drown in your addictions.
Anywho, something about that clicked with this guy and he said it helped.

My advice to the OP's friend is to surrender to advice of family and experts. Refusing to seek medical help is a form of barrier that needs to be broken down or else the respite will be temporary.
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Old 09.12.2015, 11:57
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

Just lay out the worst option to him (when he is sober, which is quite long periods from what you have said).

The worst scenario is that he will lose his family and possibly end up dead by tripping up whilst drunk and cracking his head open. Once that idea/concept is in his head tell him to only have a few beers in social or family situations (so he can consume small amounts WITH his family).

Have a friend who has a "3 beers per occasion rule" and he would only do this once a week. So essentially drinking only 3 beers a week.

It worked for him and he was a massive boozer, really helped to define a limit and some understanding so he could adhere to it.

But support from people around him is a must.
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Old 09.12.2015, 12:35
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Re: Advice on alcoholism

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Not sure if it's more about escapism or that being just a symptom of a serious disease..Unless one realizes one is sick, nothing changes. All addictions are at the core - a pure form of prioritizing oneself in a sick, extreme way. Just give oneself one last little bit..

I never had an addiction problem but had to be exposed to somebody not owning up to it. People have no idea it ruins lives and not only theirs. It's good there is help available to those who have guts to fess up.
Denial is the big problem indeed. And much more so with 'highly functioning' alcoholics- those with sucessful careers, etc. When someone is constantly falling in the gutter and unable to hold a job- the problem is obvious. In the former- the situation is 'hidden' under 'success' and much more difficult to deal with, and 'fess up' as you say.
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